Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Information Superhighway




I am always astounded by the amount of information that is available here on the internet about cancer.  If any person has access to this media, then there is no reason why they should not be informed and in touch with others to share concerns and to obtain whatever information they can on their type of cancer.  If you subscribe to various email updates as I do, you should be receiving daily updates, as well as checking out new chat forums and any upcoming seminars that you can directly log into right here on the web or attend via telephone conferencing.

I received a telephone call just yesterday about an individual who has recently been diagnosed with cancer.  My first advice for anyone with this type of diagnosis is to first and foremost "find out your TYPE of cancer".  This is pertinent to say the least, as you can only be treated properly by knowing what type of cancer you have.

Next step would be to find all of the info you can on that particular type of cancer.  How?  Well, you do a search on your type of cancer through one of the Internet search engines, such as Google.  Try to narrow it down by adding words in your search such as + treatment or +medical oncologist or + chat forums/blogs......the skies the limit,  and the more precise you are with your search terminology, then the better the results will be.  My first website lead was www.cancercompass.com which will provide information on all types of cancer, as well as allow you to post questions/answers on their forum and interact with other cancer patients.  There may be a national website in the country where you live, developed speciafically for your type of cancer such as with kidney cancer, there is www.kidneycancercanada.org

You should check out any chat forums as well to see if you can connect with other patients/caregivers who have the same type of cancer and who can share what they have learned with you.  A good place to begin is to check out www.chatroll.com and enter your type of cancer again into their search engine.  In order to chat in any of these forums, you will need to register.

Some search engines offer email alerts on all types of information that will be emailed directly to you.  For instance, with Google, there is a feature entitled Google Alerts.   You will find this at www.google.com/alerts  and then follow the instructions to receive the latest updates.  All of the other search engines such as Bing, Altavista, Yahoo all offer the similiar features so as you can see, the possibilities are endless if you subscribe to any number of them.  You really don't need email overflow though, as usually just subscribing to one of these alerts will provide the same updates.

Once you find other bloggers who post on your type of cancer, then check out their blog lists, which will allow you to find many others who post information on your particular type of cancer.

Yes, the Internet is most definitely an Information Highway when used properly.  One important thing to remember though when you are discovering all of this new information, is to NOT let it overwhelm you.  You will read the good news along with the bad about your type of cancer, but always keep in mind that each and every cancer patient is different with regards to the way he/she reacts to particular drugs, each has different side effects (i.e. and you won't be getting every single side effect that might be listed/maybe you won't have any side effects) and each individual's medical history is very different.  

This information highway can be an invaluable resource for any cancer patient.

2 comments:

Marika said...

Hi! I just wanted to point you in the direction of http://www.navigatingcancer.com - it's a new website with tools that can assist patients in every step of the journey, from diagnosis to survivorship. I'm very proud of our daily health trackers, too - mood, symptoms, medication, side effects - and would love to have you check it out and give us some feedback!

marika@navigatingcancer.com

Whidbey Woman said...

Hi Deb, I am so thankful for the Internet. I know, I know, its not perfect. You do have to be careful what you read and what you believe. I try to visit sites that are research-based or recommended to me by those in the medical field. I have learned so much about Colon Cancer and how to help my husband on this journey. Have a good week!